Giants vs. Eagles Week 3 Preview: Keys to Another Iggles Win
The Philadelphia Eagles welcome the New York Giants to Lincoln Financial Field for their home opener Sunday. One of these teams will leave a game under .500, winless in the NFC East and at least a game back of the division-leading Washington Redskins.
Here are four keys to the game that will help the Eagles take out their division rivals:
Contain the Rush
Nick Laham/Getty Images
It is no surprise the Philadelphia Eagles’ rush defense is their weak link. That is what happens when you spend millions on your line and secondary, but choose to coach through a linebacking corps featuring two former seventh-round picks and a fourth-round rookie.
Still, if you want to be a Super Bowl contender, you have a rush defense better than 30th in the NFL, allowing 146 yard per game. With Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs coming to town, things do not get any easier.
When the strength of your defense is a trio of cornerbacks, the 265-pound Jacobs Express can be a problem.
The team has already had a problem with power backs in the young season. Steven Jackson had 56 yards on two carries before being sidelined, and Michael Turner had over five yards per carry en route to 115 yards Sunday night. Cadillac Williams was none too shabby as Jackson's replacement, rushing for 91 yards on 19 carries.
The defense does not have to shut down the Giants’ duo, but keeping the backs closer to 100 yards than 150 would go a long way in winning its home opener.
Keep Eli’s Turnover Streak Going
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images
Winning the turnover battle is integral to winning any football game. Against Eli Manning, the Philadelphia Eagles may have a handicap. Lil' Maning has thrown an interception in seven straight games.
So far, the secondary has filled its end of the “Dream Team” moniker. The pass defense ranks sixth in opposing passing yards and picked off the normally mistake-free Matt Ryan twice against the Atlanta Falcons.
With playmakers like Asante Samuel, Nnamadi Asomugha and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, an interception can quickly turn into six points for Philadlphia, and could prove to be the difference in the game.
Establish the Run
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
Philadelphia Eagles head coach Andy Reid has long been known for chucking it around and abandoning the run. With either a banged-up Michael Vick or rookie Mike Kafka under center Sunday, this would be a huge mistake.
LeSean McCoy and Ronnie Brown are a halfback duo many coaches would kill to have, and Philadelphia currently ranks second in the NFL in rushing offense. A lot of that has to do with the added yards from Vick, but the Eagles have two backs capable of breaking 100 yards on any given Sunday.
In spite of the Giants’ third-ranked rush defense, it would be foolish for Brown and McCoy to get any fewer than 30 combined touches. Successfully shoving it down the heart of the defense would go a long way towards sealing the win for the Eagles.
Protect the Quarterback
Al Bello/Getty Images
Whether it is Michael Vick of Mike Kafka lining up Sunday, the Philadelphia Eagles' offensive line has to protect their quarterback.
The New York Giants are a different team when they can put pressure on the passer. When they bully the opposing offensive line, they can beat anybody. It is how they beat the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl, how they beat Pittsburgh Steelers in their Super Bowl season and how they beat the St. Louis Rams on Monday Night Football.
Philadelphia better believe Justin Tuck and Co. will be amped up for the division opener. How much the Giants' pressure effects the quarterback will likely determine the outcome of the game.
Thanks for reading. You can follow Alexander on twitter @thesportsdude7, or become a fan on his bleacher report profile.